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Oil Tank Culture Park: Eco-Friendly Cultural Multiplex In Korea 

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In Mapo-gu, Seoul, there is a park and cultural center called the Oil Tank Culture Park. At first, the park was an oil depot. The Seoul Metropolitan Government then decided to turn the park into a public space so that this historically significant place could be saved and more people could learn about sustainability and urban regeneration. Six oil storage tanks are still there, and they have been turned into areas to watch performances, see exhibits, and learn. At the Oil Tank Culture Park, anyone can enjoy cultural events, community activities, and much more.

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Image Courtesy: visitseoul.net

Seoul, a big city that is always changing, you might come across the “Oil Tank Culture Park.” Even if the name doesn’t catch your attention, the history of this art park that has been fixed up will.

The Oil Tank Culture Park’s Past

In 1973, Korea had its first oil crisis because it couldn’t get enough crude oil. Five years later, the government built an oil depot close to Maebongsan Mountain to fix the problem. Five tanks were built to be as tall as a 5-story building and big enough to hold almost 70 million liters of oil. If you can believe it, this is how much oil most people in Seoul used each month at the time.

Things changed when the World Cup Stadium was built nearby in the early 2000s. How could such a dangerous and flammable building stand so close? There was a transfer, which meant that the oil tanks were closed for good in December of 2000. The five oil tanks stood there with nothing to do for many years.

In 2013, the government finally decided to use these tall tanks by turning them into a culture, ecology park, and cultural complex. It was built with help from the people of Seoul, who had a big say in what they wanted to see built. It is now a piece of architecture that shows how everything in our world, even trash, can be used in a new way that makes everyone happier.

Things to see and do

Culture Yard

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Image Courtesy: visitseoul.net

You’ll end up in the Culture Yard when you first get to the park. It’s a big square where people can sit and look at the nearby mountain and tanks. It also has big shows, festivals, and markets every once in a while. Go to the park’s official website to find out more about events.

Glass Pavilion

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Image Courtesy: visitseoul.net

The first thing on our list was a tank that held oil. After the city took the tank apart, its walls were quickly rebuilt with large panes of glass that gave a full view of Maebongsan Mountain. It is also where many shows, workshops, and performances take place.

Sustained Oil Tank

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Image Courtesy: visitseoul.net

The next tank on our list was almost perfectly preserved, which means it shows us more about the park’s history. Visitors can go back in time by geting a glimpse of the past by going there. Because of this tank, the park can stay a part of our cultural history for years to come.

Culture Complex

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Image Courtesy: visitseoul.net

One of the most popular areas in the park is T4, which is called the Culture Complex. This used to be a kerosene tank, but now it’s a huge cultural space where you can see shows, exhibits, educational seminars, and do things like make crafts. You can walk around the inside of the old tank and learn something new while taking in the tall steel walls and pipes.

The Story Hall

The Story Hall is where most of the art in the complex is shown. It has a large number of exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as a history exhibition that goes into more detail about the park’s history. This is a great place to learn about Oil Tank Culture Park’s past, present, and future.

Neighborhood Center

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Image Courtesy: visitseoul.net

As was already said, the people of Seoul had a lot to do with how the park looked and what it did. They talked about what they wanted to see and do here in great detail. This is why the Community Center is so important to the area. Here you can find the park’s main offices, as well as lecture halls, conference rooms, and a cafeteria. The best part for visitors is the roof, which has a hole in the middle where you can see the sky. Check out the “Eco Lounge,” a library with a focus on green books, for a quick place to sit down or run away from the summer heat.

Oil Tank Culture Park

Address: 87, Jeungsan-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul (661, Seongsan-dong) | 서울시 마포구 증산로 87 성산동
Telephone: 02-376-8410
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 18:00 [Closed on Mondays]

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Tours and Extras

Tour of the park with a guide: Tuesday through Saturday (14:00, 16:00)
Length: 1 Hour
Go to the Seoul Metropolitan City Public Service Reservation Site to make a reservation.

Audio Guides: Available from 10:00 – 17:00 The Guide Hall rents out audio devices every day in English, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.

The Guide Hall has strollers and wheelchairs for rent.
There are no places to smoke in the park.
The park has a strict policy that says NO PLASTIC, so tumblers are a good idea.

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Jacque is a travel, food and lifestyle blogger. At the age of 20, she started exploring instagrammable places, discovering fascinating cultures, trying various cuisines, and taking amazing photos from local and international travel destinations. Alongside her adventures, she passionately creates Hallyu content.

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